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Great photo or was I just lucky?

bride and groom in space

This photo, taken at The Barn at Brynich, was pretty much my last wedding shot of 2021 and when I saw it in camera I was blown away by the look of it and at moments like these I usually gasp a little and try not to over sell it to the clients! Its a natural trope of many photographers to speak whilst shooting to show the clients that what you are creating is something that they love but when moments like this happen I try to temper what I am saying in case they do not agree with me or are expecting something different! So was I lucky in getting this photo or was it great vision and technique on my part?

The answer is a bit of both to be honest and that is the same in many of my photographs. This is the nature of photographing people and working in enviroments where I cannot control the whole scene like I could do in a studio. When photographing people the feeling and ‘value’ of that photo can change massively with the subject and how they are and how they respond. I tend to gravitate towards laughter and emotion, although sometimes if the right is light then that can help make a great photo when the emotion is not as strong. So YES I do rely on lots of luck when shooting to get wedding images that people love but the harder I work at finding images the more luck I tend to feel I get.

I often say to clients (and I 100% believe it) that I can only shoot what is in front of me and that photos showing the joy of a wedding day can only be taken IF people are having a great time. I will, obviously, not photograph all the boring bits of the day and will condense all the good bits into a set of images but I cannot fake fun and joy. Therefore I have to be lucky to get many images as I am so reliant on spontanious actions and fun to make many images work on the day.

Of course ther are a number of ‘posed’ photos that I take and I have more control over these but in the same way they live or die by the subject, their chemistry and relaxed nature in front of my camera. We may get a bit lucky with the light as well and in Wales … we may even have sun and have it at the right height and direction at the right time!

So the photos shown (before and after) have a level of planning and luck in equal measures. These were the last photos of a wedding and I had finished shooting the couple who were happily persauded to have a few more photos when the rain started to fall. I was then lucky in my positioning as the smoke from the fires was drifting across in front and behind of the couple nicely. I was lucky to get rain but then I knew this was going to help make a great shot and also that with editing I could enhance it within Lightroom. I could have taken it into Photoshop but Lightroom can do a great job and photoshop can be an overly complicated tool to use for most photos.

This photo above was the straight out of camera and as you can see from the finish edit one of the main jobs was to crop it down to lose any unwanted distractions in the photo. It was then a case of doing a number of small adjustments after I initially laid my preset onto the photo. The preset is a saved batch of adjustments that I use for a set of photographs. They are usually named after a previous bride and this preset was called ‘Harriet’ (named after a bride from November 2021) and it works well on Autumn days and has a brown and black texture.

The rest of the adjustments we just tweaking but lots of work was done with my ‘brush tool’ to bring out the smoke and make it denser and pop in the photo. This also helped accent the rain and give the effect of stars in the sky. My wife first saw it in camera and thought it looked like they were in space so I tried to hint at that without being too literal or make the photo look fake.

All in all I love this photo and acknowledge that in this, as with much of my work, that luck is required to get great images but I suppose that why I love shooting weddings because you have to work hard but you never quite know what you might capture.

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